Ashley and Lance McLane planned for a third child. It was the other two they never envisioned. Ashley’s pregnancy left her extremely nauseated early on. At seven weeks, in late February 2012, an ultrasound image at her local doctor’s office showed her why. She was carrying triplets.
“We were in shock,” says Ashley, adding that at the same time the staff in the doctor’s office was thrilled. “We were in an absolute state of panic and they were having a party.”
The couple already had two school-age daughters: 9-year-old Jaci and 13-year-old Caitlyn. “We have a very busy lifestyle,” adds Ashley, noting it’s even busier at their rural home near Poplar Bluff, Mo., since the birth of the triplets by C-section in August 2012.
Back in February, after learning the news, Ashley began looking for a hospital that could handle a high-risk pregnancy. A friend had delivered a premature baby who initially needed extra care in Southeast Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU. The friend told neonatologist Paul A. Caruso, MD, about Ashley’s pregnancy.
Dr. Caruso telephoned Ashley even before he knew if she would be delivering at Southeast. “He eased my mind,” she remembers.
“A triplet pregnancy creates high risks for both the mother and babies,” Dr. Caruso notes. “Babies are more likely to be premature and have low birth weight.”
Ashley’s obstetrician, Heather Cugini, MD, says mothers are more likely to have increased risk of diabetes, anemia, pregnancy-associated bleeding and other problems.
In late July, at 27 weeks, Ashley went into labor. Dr. Cugini admitted her to Southeast’s OB unit. She was given medicine to stop the contractions. She spent nearly two weeks in the unit before her doctor allowed her to return home.
On Aug. 16, at 32 weeks, she was back in the Hospital where she gave birth to two sons and a daughter. Statham and daughter Quincy each weighed over 4 pounds. The other child, Silas, weighed less than four pounds. “They looked like nothing but arms and legs,” recalls Ashley.
Dr. Cugini says the McLane triplets were the first set of triplets she has delivered here. “They are very rare, about one out of every 8,000 births,” she adds.
A Little Extra Care
As preemies, all three needed a little extra care to thrive. They were cared for in the NICU. Statham and Quincy spent seven weeks in the Hospital and Silas, who had breathing difficulties, spent two months in the Hospital.
Ashley stayed in a room on the OB floor just steps from the NICU for seven of those weeks. Counting the earlier stay, Ashley spent nine weeks in all in the Hospital.
The McLanes have plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. They can’t say enough about “Hotel Southeast,” their nickname for the OB unit. Lance and daughters Jaci and Caitlyn spent weekends in the OB room. “We called it the McLane suite,” Ashley says.
“Everybody was phenomenal. These nurses, their hearts are in it. They could not wait to see the babies,” she says.
Both Lance and Ashley praise Dr. Cugini and Dr. Caruso.
Dr. Caruso even did a stint as a babysitter, watching Statham and Quincy after they were released from NICU but still staying in the Hospital with Ashley. Dr. Caruso watched the two infants in his office for two hours so that Ashley could keep her appointment with Dr. Cugini for a checkup.
A Model Family
Both Dr. Caruso and Dr. Cugini say Ashley and her family had a very positive attitude throughout the pregnancy. Dr. Cugini notes, “It was as if they were handpicked to be the model, triplet-bearing family.”
Since returning home, Ashley and Lance have turned their spacious living room into a bedroom. Ashley and Lance sleep on couches while the triplets sleep nearby.
Ashley says there’s plenty to keep them busy, from bottle feeding the infants to doing laundry.
And Ashley can’t help but think of what it will be like when their children are all grown. “We will have so many grandkids,” she says with a smile.
Ashley and Lance McLane watch over their triplets (from left) – son Silas, daughter Quincy and son Statham at their home near Poplar Bluff, Mo.